The second full day of our expedition took us to two marvelous locations near Santiago Island: Chinese Hat in the morning and Sullivan Bay in the afternoon.

Early in the morning, we explored Chinese Hat’s picturesque shoreline by kayak. Later, we went out again in our fleet of Zodiacs. We encountered the fascinating Galapagos penguin! This flightless bird species lives close to the equator in a tropical environment, and they are one of the best examples of adaptation in the Galapagos. The penguins are very small with less feathers per square inch than the penguins that live in Antarctica. We also observed playful Galapagos sea lions, lava herons, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs, and a diversity of seabirds, including brown noddies, Galapagos shearwaters, brown pelicans, and blue-footed boobies.

After a little break, we boarded Zodiacs once again and went snorkeling in one of the most biodiverse sites in the Galapagos. We swam very close to whitetip sharks, different species of fish, large starfish, and the always charismatic and frolicsome Galapagos sea lions.

After presentations on the ship in the afternoon, we explored one of my favorite locations in the Galapagos: Sullivan Bay. We went for a long hike on one of the most spectacular and extensive lava fields in the archipelago. Every step in this wild location made us think about the mesmerizing volcanic origins of the Galapagos Islands. While walking on the lava fields, it felt like going back in time. Using our imaginations, we wondered what this place was like after volcanic eruptions in the recent past.

Once we returned to the ship, we talked about our new adventures and enjoyed a great barbecue dinner. We went to bed dreaming about the wonders this magical archipelago will bring to our lives tomorrow.